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Lifestyle Changes to Control Cholesterol

Exercise, quitting smoking, and taking your medications right can help you control your cholesterol.Woman lap swimming in pool wearing goggles and swim cap.

Exercise

Regular exercise is a good way to help your body control cholesterol. Regular exercise has many benefits. It can:

  • Raise your good cholesterol.

  • Help lower your bad cholesterol.

  • Let blood flow better through your body.

  • Give more oxygen to your muscles and tissues.

  • Help you manage your weight.

Quitting Smoking

Smoking and other tobacco use can raise cholesterol and make it harder to control. Quitting is tough. But millions of people have given up tobacco for good. You can quit, too! Think about some of the reasons below to quit smoking. Do any of them make you think twice about your smoking habit?

Quit smoking because it:

  • Keeps your cholesterol high, even if you make all the other changes you’re supposed to.

  • Damages your body, especially your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

  • Makes you more likely to have a heart attack (also known as acute myocardial infarction, or AMI), stroke, or cancer.

  • Stains your teeth and makes your skin, clothes, and breath smell bad.

  • Costs a lot of money.

Making the Most of Medications

Healthy eating and exercise are a good start to keeping your cholesterol down. But you may need some extra help from medication. If your doctor prescribes medication, be sure to take it exactly as directed. Remember:

  • Tell your doctor about all other medications you take, including vitamins and herbs.

  • Tell your doctor if you have any side effects after starting to take a medication. Examples of side effects to watch for include: muscle aches, weakness, blurred vision, rust-colored urine, or headache.

  • Don’t skip a dose or stop taking your medication because you feel better or because your cholesterol numbers go down. Never stop taking your medication unless your doctor has told you it’s okay.

Online Medical Reviewer: Carman, Jody, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Pape, Joy, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN
Last Review Date: 2/27/2012
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